Exploring symmetry and color throughout the de Young’s collection is one of our favorite activities. Second-grade students who participate in our guided school program experience the following activity as part of their visit. Participate in this project as a family and see the multiple ways you can mix color and create symmetry.
You can find color and symmetry throughout the collection at the de Young. Our second-grade classes have an opportunity to take a close and careful look at the gable mask from Papua New Guinea. Before starting the project, take a moment to look at this work of art. What elements do you notice first that are symmetrical (the same on both sides)? What additional details can you find? Are these also symmetrical? What do you notice about how the artist used color? Is there any part of the work that is not symmetrical?
- Palette (paper plate or other flat surface)
- Acrylic paints in red, yellow, blue, and white
- Square piece of thick paper such as 12 x12 in. poster board
- Flat or round paintbrushes
- Color wheel (optional)
- Water cup
- Paper towels
Questions to Consider
- How can you show symmetry through color?
- How can you show symmetry through shape and line?
- Can it be symmetrical in shape and different in color?
- Will you paint something that is abstract or realistic?